Art Academy of Cincinnati to Host Cincinnati Artist Charley Harper’s 100th Birthday Celebration | Visual arts | Cincinnati

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Photo: provided by Brett Harper

Charley Harper painting outdoors.

One of Cincinnati’s most beloved visionaries turns 100 in August.

On August 4, the Cincinnati Academy of Art will host a birthday party for Cincinnati artist Charley Harper on what would have been his 100th birthday. The internationally acclaimed entertainer formerly based in Cincinnati died in 2007 at the age of 84.

Harper, who ultimately landed in Cincinnati but grew up in West Virginia, created paintings, prints and illustrations that frequently stylized their nature-related subjects by minimizing depth and emphasizing color and geometric features, a common motif around the middle of the 20th century.

Charley’s son, Brett Harper, will be present at the AAC anniversary celebration, signing copies of the latest book about his father, Wild Life: The Life and Work of Charley Harper. As the title of the book suggests, this is not just a collection of images; it also contains a biographical account written by Margaret Rhodes, editor of New York magazine with a background in design stories.

Overall, the many art reproductions in Wildlife reinforce Charley’s reputation as a stylish colourist whose love for nature has made him a sort of modern, pared-down Henri Rousseau. But the book also presents works that surprise with their minimalism, their choice of sober colors or their subject. Who knew, for example, that Harper once designed a cool ad for Cool-Ray sunglasses?

Other interesting artifacts featured in the book include Harper’s 1957 color rendering of his mid-century modern “dream home and studio”, designed by architect Rudy Hermes (it was built with modifications from the rendering and now owned by Brett).

Those attending Charley’s birthday party will also have the chance to browse over 40 prints from the artist’s career which will be on display at AAC’s Pearlman Gallery until Sunday, August 14. The prints are also available for purchase, according to a press release. .

“A Celebration of Charley Harper on His 100th Birthday” will be held from 5-7 p.m. at the AAC, located at 1212 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine. More info:

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Mildred D. Field